top of page

The video installation BY THE WAY thematises the working conditions of sex workers, especially those in street prostitution on Kurfürstenstraße in Berlin, and the effects that the current legal situation and current political and socio-economic developments have on them. The massive wooden box is a replica of a so-called Verrichtungsbox aka Sexbox aka Drive-in du sexe or Biotoilette or Plumpsklo, as they already stand on Kurfürstenstraße and are still planned. What is meant is a public toilet that is also to serve as a place for sex in order to combat "open enforcement". What is meant here is the public visibility of sexual intercourse. Two toilets are already in place, and three more are to follow. These, however, will be equipped with a second door as a possible emergency exit. Parallel to these new measures, new luxury construction projects are being built on Kurfürstenstraé, such as Carré Voltaire and Schönegarten Central Berlin, whose already sold-out penthouse flats will in future look directly onto the wooden toilets, which will now serve as workplaces for the sex workers. On Kurfürstenstraße, only the asphalt separates them. The aim of the new measures is to improve working conditions, as it is also stated in the name of the new Prostitution Protection Act (ProstSchG). But just as with the law, the question arises with the performance boxes whether they do not serve more to protect against the visibility of enforcement. After all, less visibility means less protection from violence. The effects of the new regulations on the reality of life and work of those working in the sex industry are repressive and criminalising. The law, which came into force in 2017, includes, among other things, compulsory registration, a "whore card" with a photo, registration address, date and place of birth, nationality, work and residence permit, far-reaching police powers, data storage, as well as compulsory health consultations, without which the activity slips into illegality and those affected are threatened with fines. In this way, the law exacerbates the vulnerability of those who would need protection the most, as without the possibility of legally carrying out their activity, they would no longer have they can no longer trust the police or the state.

This work was created during my research on the working conditions of sex workers on Kurfürstenstraße Berlin, as a counter-design to the sex boxes/ eco-toilets planned by the Berlin Senate. The idea was to plan an architectural design that would be oriented towards the actual needs of the sex workers on site. That's why I spoke to various organisations, such as Hydra e.V. and Frauentreff Olga, and visited with the mayor of Mitte and Schöneberg. Sex work is a controversial topic. Most people don't talk about it. With my work, I wanted to sensitise people to this topic who have no points of contact in normal life, create awareness, pass on information and clear up prejudices.  The wooden box that stood in the Bethanien project room during my exhibition is a replica of these eco-toilets that now stand around the Kurfürst. In the exhibition context, it takes on a new level of meaning. A monitor is set up inside. The video is a compilation of clichéd images in glamorous brothel aesthetics and advertising videos of the luxury building companies replacing the buildings on site. On on the floor is a file folder with statements and demands of well-known human rights organisations for the rights of sex workers. On the outside wall there are information texts to take away.

bottom of page